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Two years ago today Hurricane Ike slammed into the Texas coast as a Category 2 hurricane but with a storm surge the equivalent of a Category 5. It was the third costliest hurricane in U.S. history (behind only Andrew and Katrina), with almost $30 billion in damages.

We have not yet found any way to prevent a hurricane, or tornado, or any number of other natural disasters. But we can and should be proud of the critical role the insurance industry plays in replacing or repairing damaged property in these catastrophes. Being prepared is key to filling that role in the best way possible.

So, this day, as we remember the devastating losses of two years ago, may we suggest two things:

  1. Make sure your customers know about the damage caused by Ike and other natural disasters and their coverage options including national flood and state wind policy options, if applicable.
  2. Review your agency’s disaster recovery plan. How will you access your documents and systems if your office is inaccessible? How will your insureds know how to reach you?

That’s the best word we could come up with. Unfathomable. We’ve seen the pictures, but it’s hard to believe it’s real.

Even before the destructive earthquake hit Haiti last week the people of that tiny island nation were among the poorest, living in conditions most of us cannot imagine. Now, according to reports, the injured are waiting days for care and amputations are expected in the hundreds.

Photo uploaded by United Nations Development Programme.

Most of us have insurance to cover the damage done to our homes, or even our lives, in some catastrophe. As insurance professionals, we’re proud to have provided the service that helped people back on their feet after some tornado, hurricane, fire or other disaster.

It is painfully clear in this case that not only are most people not well covered – the basic necessities are not available. Roads and hospitals are closed from the damage. Due to transportation and permission delays, doctors have had to wait over 24 hours for supplies before being able to treat the injured.

Years of one of, if not the most, corrupt government on earth and economic policies that unfortunately have made Haiti the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere only make things dramatically worse.

Please take a moment to think of how you can help. If nothing else, donate to the Red Cross or another reputable charity that is helping on the ground in Haiti. Then take a few more minutes and develop a plan for how you would react if anything close to this happened near your home. Odds are all of us can and should be much more prepared than we are now. Please think about it.

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